Bills GM Beane keeping QB options open 6 weeks before draft

In this Feb. 28, 2018, file photo, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Beane refuses to paint himself into a corner in making any public commitment to selecting a quarterback in the first round of the draft. He says it's premature to determine what position the Bills will target with either of their two first-round picks, because his attention was focused on reshaping the roster through a series of trades and free-agent signings over the past few weeks. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Speculate all you want, Bills general manager Brandon Beane insisted it’s premature to suggest he’s trading up to select a quarterback in the first round of next month’s draft.
“I know everyone assumes that we’re going higher than 12,” Beane said Friday, referring to Buffalo opening the draft with the No. 12 selection he acquired this week in a trade with Cincinnati. “I don’t know what we’re doing. I honestly don’t. We’ll see.”
Beane spoke during a news conference to outline the series of trades and signings the Bills completed over the past week.
The topic of discussion, however, quickly turned to the draft, and how Beane strengthened Buffalo’s position to potentially land one of the highly touted quarterback prospects available for selection.
The Bills have a need at quarterback after trading third-year starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland a week ago. Buffalo also moved up nine spots in the draft order by trading left tackle Cordy Glenn and swapping first-round picks with the Bengals.
And the Bills have the assets — two selections in each of the first three rounds, including No. 22 — to spend in the event they elect to move up higher in the draft order.
Beane declined to say what exactly he will do to prepare for his first draft in Buffalo since being hired in May.
He said it’s too early to determine which position the Bills might target to open the draft. And even if it is quarterback, he has not yet had a chance to assess which ones the Bills would consider because he hasn’t had a chance to meet extensively with the players.
That will change in the coming weeks, when all NFL teams will invite prospects to their facilities and meet others at college workouts.
“I’m going to be methodical about it,” said Beane, who noted he’s had at least brief interactions with every quarterback prospect over the past two months. “I know everybody’s ready to race to the answer. I’m excited I’ve got six weeks.”
Buffalo’s roster currently consists of two relatively untested quarterbacks.
A.J. McCarron , who was signed in free agency on Wednesday, spent his first four NFL seasons serving mostly as Andy Dalton’s backup in Cincinnati. Then there’s Buffalo’s 2017 fifth-round draft pick, Nathan Peterman, who had two touchdowns and six interceptions, in five games, including two starts, last season.
Beane discounted the notion the 27-year-old McCarron was signed to take over the starting job until a younger quarterback can be developed.
As for trading Taylor, Beane wished him well in Cleveland.
“I thought it was important for us to be fair to him and put him in a spot where they were going to surround him with talent,” he said. “I will root for Tyrod the rest of his career other than when he’s playing the Bills.”
Without revealing Buffalo’s salary cap figure, Beane said he has little payroll left to make any more high-profile moves in free agency.
Aside from McCarron, Buffalo signed defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and pass-rush specialist Trent Murphy, safety Rafael Bush and linebacker Julian Stanford this week.
Beane said he needs to hold back a portion of his payroll for Buffalo’s draft selections as well as keep money in reserve in case players getting hurt.
The Bills on Friday restocked their depth at running back by reaching deals to re-sign Travaris Cadet and Taiwan Jones. Both will compete with recently signed Chris Ivory for backup jobs behind starter LeSean McCoy.
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